Thursday, June 10, 2010


I have been thinking about the subject of babying our horses lately. There are many ways we "baby" them. Can you think of times you think "man you are one spoiled pony"-- for your horses?
Watching them hang out indoors with their fans, and seeing sunscreen on their pink noses always makes me smile. Don't get me wrong they deserve it. They work hard for us and they are our family. They deserve the best feed, treats, and treatment that our stretched out budgets can provide-- it's just funny ain't it?

(Bodhi snoozing under a fan after his pedicure)

As Bodhi returns to his old self from his injury he also turns a year older. I think I have been a cautious trainer with him as the breed is slow to mature, and more recently cautious because of his injury. I try not to work him too long, jump him too often, bore him with drills, or ask him questions he is not ready to say yes to.

I am wondering if I baby him too much though? The answer is probably yes. I really want to make training fun for him and as stress free as possible. I also know that stress is what are muscles need in order to grown and what our brains need in order to learn.

I think maybe my plan so far has been a good one. I baby him because he is a baby. I am quick to reward and I have tried to instill a love of learning. Kindle the curiosity that usually dies in maturing horses. I think now that he is finally getting to the age where all green lights say "Go!" I am going to start work on more mental and emotional toughness. This means more repetition, longer rides, more difficult questions with maybe smaller rewards? Of course I am going to stick to positive reinfocement! I am thinking about shifting how much I expect and ask for though. I know he is not going to catch up overnight! I can't be upset if he still wants to be a baby. I just have to stay calm, correct and ask for a little bit more. I think he is ready. I think he can do it.


  1. He's a smart guy and I'm sure he can do anything he sets his mind to or is asked to do. I think your plan is a good one. We all spoil our horses too much, but you're right they are worth it. Happy Birthday cute guy!

  2. I think your approach is a good one. It seems to me like it's had the desired results so far. It makes sense to gradually increase the intensity, duration etc., as he matures because you also want to develop that attention span and endurance (I assume). Sounds infinitely better than my current lease who was pushed too fast, too young.

    You know Bodhi so well, I think you will know if you try to much too soon at any point and can back off a touch. Do you think the tough part might be recognizing mild, normal resistance in him versus truly being not ready?

  3. Bodhi is lucky to have such a thoughtful owner who considers his maturity level with training plans.

  4. It is kind of difficult to know where the pony-tude is coming from. I guess for Bodhi specifically when he gets grumpy or bored he usually starts rooting his nose down and stomping his feet (it is as cute as it sounds) in a pony temper tantrum. He did that when we trotted by a horse who was having dinner last night. Soooo unfair! Or he starts spooking at mundane objects. I see those things as "mental toughness issues" When he just breaks gate, or caves in, or goes crooked, or refuses to pick up the canter etc... I see those as physical problems and try and go back a step to where he can easily succeed again.

  5. He looks so sweet with his lower lip drooping like that. I can't help you with the babying issue, I'm a big time offender of that myself.

    The only thing I can say is he's still really young, you've got lots of time to get where you want to with him.

  6. Great revision of your thoughts and training..I'm sure he'll tell you how he's adjusting! :)